Khor Virap

The historical monastery was built atop a legendary underground prison, where the Armenian King Tiridates (Trdat) III kept St. Gregory the Illuminator. Gregory was a preacher of Christianity for which he was imprisoned. Every day for 13 years, a local woman had secretly brought him bread and water until the time when the king was struck down with a serious disease. The king’s sister had a vision that Gregory was the only person who could save the king, and he was soon released and brought to the palace. The preacher cured the ruler and baptized him, after which he converted the whole nation to Christians. In 301 AD, Armenia adopted a new state religion and Gregory became the first Catholicos.

Today Khor Virap Monastery is one of the most visited pilgrimage sites. Many tourists take a climb down into the dungeon at a depth of several meters to see where Gregory was held in captivity for years.  

Khor Virap is located at the foot of Mount Ararat, and it provides, probably, the best view of the biblical mountain.